The first spin is that the need for one million take down requests per day is proof that harsher laws need to be put in place to stem the tide of digital piracy. It is no secret that the copyright lobby would love to get more than a few restrictions put in place on the way the internet runs. They have tried this with bills like SOPA and PIPA and even tried to push it into laws like the cyber intelligence sharing and protection act. Thankfully the public backlash on these bills was enough to remind law makers that laws are intended to protect people and not corporate interests (for now).
However in order to have proof positive that the issue is getting way out of hand (and that these laws are needed), the industry has started ramping up their requests to sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo. By pushing these requests to search engines they claim that they are able to prevent people from finding infringing content on the web and help stop revenue and job loss. These last two are still the basis for their claims of how badly piracy hurts despite record profits over the last few years.
In most cases they either gloss this little fact over, or simply ignore it and push on with the claims that they need more laws, more power to act (they really want to be their own police force) and to get something like a fast track when it comes to going after sites that threaten their hold on digital content. This message has been pushed as being in the best interests of: revenue, the economy and national security.
One the opposite side the net neutrality groups are looking into the actual requests and are seeing that many of these are repeat requests for the exact same content, but from different (sometimes shortened) URLs. There has also been an increase in requests for takedowns of content that might not actually be infringing. This has been an area where we have seen a startling increase from the copyright guys. It is as if they are not even researching to be sure the links are really pointing toward a content that is being hosted illegally. If it looks funny, take it down and never mind the consequences to the site in question.
Even the requests going to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are seeing these types of takedown requests. It was not that long ago that the RIAA (Recording Industry Artists of America) sent a request for a domain seizure without any real evidence for a site that was legally hosting music. This site was taken offline for a year without any trial, right of response or recourse. All on the say so of the RIAA.
It is this type of behavior that is being identified as the real root cause of why the number of takedown requests has increased. There is also the factor that they (the copyright gang) hope to overload search engines and perhaps get their own takedown mechanism where they can remove the links they want. So far the major search engines have resisted that urge and with good reason. Having that type of mechanism did not help Mega Upload. When the copyright lobbies found out that Mega Upload might start allowing independent artists to host and resell their content through the service, they went after them with a vengeance. A law suit was filed with little to no real evidence of wrong doing (they still do not have more than the MPAA, RIAA and a few other companies’ claims) and have held Kim Dotcom in a siege state for a couple of years now.
In the end the trend of flooding search engines with take down requests will continue as well other campaigns to get new and more oppressive laws on the books. It is part of their business model and one that they (the copyright industry) is not going to let go of any time soon. All we can hope to do is to show that they measures they want are not in the best interest of anyone (except the copyright holders) and that they represent a real security threat in the way they would be implemented. In conversations with a few ISPs they do not want to become the police for copyright holders either, but cannot be too vocal just yet. So it is up to us to make sure we set the tone of the conversation and do not let the industry create a boogeyman for lawmakers to see as a real threat. Once that happens they tend to overreact and start handing out the keys to the kingdom.
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